Perseid Meteor ShowerObserving Party
When: Saturday, August 11, 2012- August 13, 2012
9:00 PM-early morning
Where: Back Yard away from lights
How: In a Lawn Chair- preferably reclined
The shower splashes through the sky every year in early August when Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbit and sweeps up some of this debris. We see shooting stars—rapid streaks of light—as the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth and the air is heated to incandescence.
For the geeks among us, here’s some trivia: The Perseids get their name from Perseus, the constellation from which they seem to emanate, but they can appear anywhere in the sky. Their only connection with Perseus is that, if you trace their path backward across the sky, eventually you get to the constellation of Perseus.
You can see the shower anywhere in the sky, but look toward the southeastern sky to see the meteors at their brightest and longest.
This bit of advice from Space.com
If you don’t see any meteors at first, be patient. This is a meteor shower, not a meteor storm. There will be a lot more meteors than you would see on a normal night, but they will still only come at random intervals, perhaps 20 or 30 in an hour.
When you do see a meteor, it will likely be very fast and at the edge of your field of vision. You may even doubt that what you saw was real. But, when you do see something, watch that area more closely, as two or three meteors often come in groups down the same track. To take photographs leave your camera shutter open for several minutes for a time exposure- the stars will track as the Earth turns and the meteors will leave steaks across the image. When the meteor tracks are followed backwards they point in the direction of the constellation Perseus.
(To take pictures of the shower it’s best to do a timed exposure.)